Minor Injury Regulation Changes
Changes to the Minor Injury Regulation (AR 123.2004) (“MIR”) are expected shortly, which clarify certain misinterpretations of the wording of the MIR to date.
Although the wording of the regulation has always made it clear that injuries to muscles and ligaments are minor injuries, Courts have been unwilling to apply this wording to the jaw structure. The wording of the original regulation suggested that injuries to the cartilaginous TMJ disc or fractures to the bone would not fall within the definition of minor injury, but sprain, strain and other injury to the muscles and ligaments of the jaw structure would. Instead, the courts have simply indicated that the MIR did not apply to the jaw at all.
The amendments, which take effect June 1, 2018, add a new section 1(2), which specifies that an injury surrounding the TMJ joint is a sprain, strain or WAD injury, unless the injury involves either:
- Damage to the teeth or bone; or
- Damage to or displacement of the articular disc.
In addition, the legislature has added a new s. 2.1(1) to the Regulation to address physical or psychological symptoms or conditions that accompany whiplash injuries, and which injuries arise on or after June 1, 2018. Pursuant to the new section, any physical or psychological symptom that arises from a sprain, strain or WAD injury (and resolves with it) will not be a separate injury from the sprain, strain or WAD injury, and therefore will fall within the minor injury compensation. Of course, should these symptoms not resolve as expected, they may still be considered serious impairments pursuant to the serious impairment section and the case law that has evolved regarding the same.
If you have any questions, please contact the Field Law Insurance Group for more information.